Microtechnology is very interesting, especially in military technology. Smaller the things, harder they are for people to notice.
The British have been using this little drone for about a year. It’s called the Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Aircraft System, costs $195,000 and can fly for a total of 25 minutes. It is equipped with a small camera that can send back full video or still images to the soldiers screen, with range of up to 1000 meters. The device is 10 cm long and weighing 16 grams, with a 4 inch rotor span – think a little longer than your middle finger.
The Black Hornet is powered by a small battery pack that enables it to fly at up to 10 m/s. What is really awesome about it is that it can be controlled via an ‘autopilot’ type mode where it goes to its destination via a GPS chip.
British troops have been using the device since August of 2012, and seem to find the device very useful. They’ve been so well received in fact, that the British Ministry of Defense has ordered 160 more units for a total cost of £20 million ($31.3 million).
Overall, the use of micro and nanotechnology for military use will increase over the next decade, since not only is it getting ‘cheaper’, but there are more and more breakthroughs in that area all the time. What it means is that eventually this kind of technology will make its way down to the consumer market. Obviously not drones, but the same sort of high-tech miniaturization technology that the military likes. Technology like this often times starts out being used in the military, and then some ingenious business finds a way of utilizing parts or all of the tech in a consumer application.